8 Replies Latest reply on Dec 20, 2011 8:45 AM by peter minneapolis

    Creating and Managing Outlines with Graphics

    cordee1

      I am seeking software that will enable me to create large documents, 1.5 GB and larger, that will enable me to handle and order my research notes.  Specifically, I work with very large PDF and jpeg files (digitized copies of very old textual and image artefacts [they are over 100 years old and cannot be processed through OCR), and I like to cut and paste from these files directly into my chapter and book outlines.  I then work off these outlines to write up my actual chapters and books.  So far, I've been using ms word for this purpose because I like Word's outline feature.  However, word always crashes when my documents get larger than 700 MB, so I need a different solution.

       

      It is not practical for me to "shrink" my PDFs, jpegs, and assorted files, not only because I have over 5000 such files that I use on a regular basis, but also because the outline documents still grow too big to manage, even with the smaller files.

       

      Do you think indesign is a good solution for my needs? That is, would indesign be able to generate and manage large outlines of over 1 GB, full of graphics and headings, without crashing?

       

      If so, please tell me how this would work.  Basically I want to be able to see my entire chapter outline at a glance, and to expand and collapse the different sections that I'm not working on; and to also move different sections to different places in the document, as I see fit.

       

      Thanks.

        • 1. Re: Creating and Managing Outlines with Graphics
          John Hawkinson Level 5

          I would recommend you give it shot -- there's a 30 day free trial. InDesign should be able to handle very large documents, and certainly 1.5 GB of linked images is not crazy-large. A lot of this is because InDesign links to images, rather than including them inside its own document (at least in the recommended workflow). Please note that if you do use InDesign, you should File > Place the images, you should not cut-and-paste them. If you cut and paste them, many things go wrong, including the linking.

           

          Incidently:

          It is not practical for me to "shrink" my PDFs, jpegs, and assorted files, not only because I have over 5000 such files that I use on a regular basis, but also because the outline documents still grow too big to manage, even with the smaller files.

          Neither of those points make sense to me. If you have 5,000 files, set up a batch process to shrink them and leave it running overnight. As for still growing too big to manage, I guess that would depend on the definition of too big to manage. Not sure what that is. But I suppose it doesn't matter here.

           

          Do you think indesign is a good solution for my needs? That is, would indesign be able to generate and manage large outlines of over 1 GB, full of graphics and headings, without crashing?

          It certainly should. The largest issue is that it has a steep learning curve. Go find one of Bob Levine's posts for a discount coupon for the recommended book, Sandee Cohen's Visual Quickstart.

           

          If so, please tell me how this would work.  Basically I want to be able to see my entire chapter outline at a glance, and to expand and collapse the different sections that I'm not working on; and to also move different sections to different places in the document, as I see fit.

          That may be a problem. InDesign is a page layout program, not a word processor. It has a lot of word processing features, but expand/collapse of outline headings is not one of them, at least as far as I am aware. Certainly you can move sections (it's called cut-and-paste!), and you can generate multilevel table-of-contents, but I don't know of a good way to expand/collapse sections.

          • 2. Re: Creating and Managing Outlines with Graphics
            peter minneapolis Level 4

            cordee1 wrote:

             

            I am seeking software that will enable me to create large documents, 1.5 GB and larger, that will enable me to handle and order my research notes.  Specifically, I work with very large PDF and jpeg files (digitized copies of very old textual and image artefacts [they are over 100 years old and cannot be processed through OCR), and I like to cut and paste from these files directly into my chapter and book outlines.  I then work off these outlines to write up my actual chapters and books.  So far, I've been using ms word for this purpose because I like Word's outline feature.  However, word always crashes when my documents get larger than 700 MB, so I need a different solution.

             

            It is not practical for me to "shrink" my PDFs, jpegs, and assorted files, not only because I have over 5000 such files that I use on a regular basis, but also because the outline documents still grow too big to manage, even with the smaller files.

             

            Do you think indesign is a good solution for my needs? That is, would indesign be able to generate and manage large outlines of over 1 GB, full of graphics and headings, without crashing?

             

            If so, please tell me how this would work.  Basically I want to be able to see my entire chapter outline at a glance, and to expand and collapse the different sections that I'm not working on; and to also move different sections to different places in the document, as I see fit.

             

            Thanks.

             

            If your graphics and PDFs are embedded in your Word documents, rather than linked in (aka imported,) then you could reduce the file sizes by changing from embedded to linked. This might not solve Word's instability, however. InDesign can link in graphics, to help keep file sizes reasonable.

             

            However, while you could use InDesign's conditional text feature to show and hide chunks of content, and its ability to copy/cut and paste/insert pages, it's probably not the best tool for this.

             

            You might want to look into tools like the following:

            • Evernote, an application that stores all kinds of files in the "cloud," as well as locally, can organize and search them according to tags and keywords you apply, and do a number of other things. It works with Mac, Windows, Android, etc., it's free for a reasonable amount of storage, and there's a paid premium option for more storage.

             

                 From the evernote.com site:

                     

                 What is an "upload allowance"?Each Evernote account is allowed to upload a certain amount of data to Evernote on the web every month.    

                 Free accounts have a 60 megabyte (MB) upload allowance and Premium accounts get 1024MB.

             

                 The interesting thing is that it synchronizes content across your computers and handheld devices, so you're always able to add or retrieve content wherever you're able to connect to the Internet.

             

            • Depending on your platform/OS, there are some other writing tools that claim to be designed for authoring, especially gathering and managing multiple file formats and sources.
            • Ommwriter (ommwriter.com) works on Mac, Windows, iPad.
            • Scrivener (scrivener.com) is Mac only.
            • Shovebox (www.wonderwarp.com/shovebox/) is for Mac and iPhone.

             

            David Pogue, the NY Times tech columnist wrote about several cloud-based collaboration tools that he's used for his copious output, and might be interesting for you to consider. Search Google for terms like "david pogue dropbox sugarsync" without quotes for details.

             

             

            HTH

             

            Regards,

             

             

            Peter

            _______________________

            Peter Gold

            KnowHow ProServices

            • 3. Re: Creating and Managing Outlines with Graphics
              cordee1 Level 1

              Thanks Peter and John - much appreciated.  I should have mentioned - I'm a mac user.

               

              In terms of linking to files (rather than pasting into the document), I wish this were a good solution for me.  However, most of my documents that I am working with are PDF or JPEG files of old newspapers - some from the 1700s and 1800s - so they are approx 15 pages each, and I only want to link to a specific paragraph or line out of the entire document.  Linking to the whole document is not a good solution because what I really need is a quick reference to specific material in the document.  So, I have found it easier to simply cut and paste the relevant into off the PDF, directly into my word outline. I also like to move my PDFs and JPEGs around in my computer, depending on what I'm working on at any given time, so linked files don't really work that way as well.

               

              Yes, shrinking my PDFs and JPEGs is an option, and I will look into making a batch process to shrink them and leave it running overnight.

               

              I have looked into ommwriter, shovebox, and scrivener, and all seem to somewhat address my issue, but don't really confront it head-on.  All seem to require setting up a database or corkboard of some sort for my data, rather than being able to manage my data in an outline view.  So I'd rather find a word processor that can handle LARGE outlines of over 1.5 GB, rather than adapt my research and writing process to what's available.  So far I've found Mac's Pages to be even better than word for this - it can handle up to about 1.5 GB without crashing  - but then the outline function in pages is not as powerful as word.

               

              Thanks for your tips on indesign.  It doesn't really look like indesign is the right solution for me.  I appreciate the advice and I'll keep on looking!! 

               

               

              .

              • 4. Re: Creating and Managing Outlines with Graphics
                John Hawkinson Level 5

                It does sound like your workflow isn't really optimal for InDesign. But these apps definitely shoudn't crash. If you can manage to make InDesign crash in a reproducible way, we would like to hear about it. (This need not be your priority of course...)

                 

                In terms of linking to files (rather than pasting into the document), I wish this were a good solution for me.  However, most of my documents that I am working with are PDF or JPEG files of old newspapers - some from the 1700s and 1800s - so they are approx 15 pages each, and I only want to link to a specific paragraph or line out of the entire document.  Linking to the whole document is not a good solution because what I really need is a quick reference to specific material in the document.

                You need not link to the whole document. You can Place a particular page of a PDF document and then crop it.

                Unfortunately this is not as convenient as your workflow where you marquee select a rectangular region of a PDF in some PDF viewer (Acrobat Reader? Preview? which one, I am curious) and copy-and-paste it.

                 

                It would be interesting, though, perhaps Quite Interesting, if InDesign had support for placing linked PDFs with the appropriately defined crop region when you did a marquee select in Adobe Reader. I wonder what it would take to make this happen for CS6.5. I wonder how much of the clipboard handling is exposed. Actually, I find this idea intriguing. Any thoughts, anyone else?

                 

                So, I have found it easier to simply cut and paste the relevant into off the PDF, directly into my word outline. I also like to move my PDFs and JPEGs around in my computer, depending on what I'm working on at any given time, so linked files don't really work that way as well

                Generally moving your files around like that is...not a great plan. I am rather curious why you do so. It would seem like organizing them in a decent folder structure and keeping them there shouldn't be much of a workflow burden.

                 

                Obviously moving around linked files is a recipe for disaster. InDesign does let you "package" a document, which copies all the linked files to a new folder (and changes the links in the InDesign document to point to the new destination), so you could package before you moved on to the next project and moved the previously-linked files. But it does seem error=prone.

                 

                But if you could manage to use linked files in Word, it would probably crash less.

                 

                Back on your point and less tangentially:

                Yes, shrinking my PDFs and JPEGs is an option, and I will look into making a batch process to shrink them and leave it running overnight.

                Well, actually, if you are truly copy-and-pasteing, I don't see why it would. Typically copy and paste of image data from a PDF generates a screen-resolution bitmap image (I think! I guess I could be wrong! And clipboard handling can very with the Cartesian product of the source and destination application.). On the other hand, if that's true, I don't see why you would have 1500MB files.

                • 5. Re: Creating and Managing Outlines with Graphics
                  [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                  (The Screen Marquee in Acrobat is the only way to 'copy' graphics out of a PDF -- well, short of Object Edit, but that would start up Photoshop or something alike, so it's hard to miss.

                  Sorry to say, it's a bad, bad way of transferring content from a PDF into your document. It *is* a literal screen copy -- if I have no alternative but using it, I enlarge the image as much as possibly can fit on my -- large! -- monitor.

                  You might as well do a screen copy using OS X own Capture Screen facility.

                   

                  The 'good' way -- which is I grant less practical and ad hoc -- is to place the correct page as a linked file and then use INDesign's tools to crop to fit. That way you get (1) a solid link to the original file, which is next to nothing as large as your crappy screenshot (oh alright, InDesign creates a lo-res version for preview purposes), and (2) a much smaller file to work  with.

                   

                  InDesign is nothing like Word, though. It's absolutely not a writer's tool, but meant for professional design, and doing the simplest of tasks can appear daunting for a beginner.)

                  • 6. Re: Creating and Managing Outlines with Graphics
                    John Hawkinson Level 5

                    (The Screen Marquee in Acrobat is the only way to 'copy' graphics out of a PDF -- well, short of Object Edit, but that would start up Photoshop or something alike, so it's hard to miss.

                    Sorry to say, it's a bad, bad way of transferring content from a PDF into your document. It *is* a literal screen copy -- if I have no alternative but using it, I enlarge the image as much as possibly can fit on my -- large! -- monitor.

                    Well, that assumes this is for final output. If this is only for use in the outline, and is going to be replaced with either a final image or typeset text, (i.e. this is FPO) then this is a totally reasonable workflow. So "it depends."

                     

                    InDesign is nothing like Word, though. It's absolutely not a writer's tool, but meant for professional design, and doing the simplest of tasks can appear daunting for a beginner.)

                    Well, that's kind of unfair, you make it sound like some of these "simple tasks" are not as daunting for experts. But cropping images to match the currently selected marquee in Adobe Reader is equally annoying for non-beginners as beginners.

                     

                    On the other hand, I wouldn't say ID isn't a writer's tool (ha! I'm just a Contrarian Today.). I absolute write stuff in InDesign and InCopy, and it meets my needs. But I understand not everyone agrees.

                    • 7. Re: Creating and Managing Outlines with Graphics
                      cordee1 Level 1

                      I'm certainly a newbie when it comes to such things, which is no doubt why I've been using word and pages for handling my outlines, rather than a more powerful program.  That said, I've decided to give scrivener another try - and (fingers crossed) I think it will provide the solution I need.  It'll be more time consuming to plug all my data in, but it's not a database, so at least I don't have to code everything.  I can still see everything in outline view, instead.  I HOPE it can handle files of the size I'm going to be using.  I still haven't figured out how to link to particular sections within PDF's and JPEG's - and for me, cutting and pasting off of them, directly in the word processor (and now, scrivener, hopefully) is more convenient (that is, of course, until my software crashes).  I use Preview to do such things.  I also use Preview to annotate my PDF and JPEG data.  No doubt, if I were a more advanced software user, I would be able to figure out how to do all this without needing to cut and paste off graphics files.  However, time is short, and right now I need to focus on publishing, rather than learning new software tricks.  I've tried to use databases before but have found coding to be quite inflexible - sometimes I use different data sets for different articles/books, and it's difficult to anticipate what codes I should apply until I actually start my new projects.

                       

                      Thanks again all for all your advice.  When I have more time I'll figure out how to link to different files, rather than embedding them; I'll also try to become a more advanced coder.  But for now I'll try scrivener.  We'll see how it goes.

                      • 8. Re: Creating and Managing Outlines with Graphics
                        peter minneapolis Level 4

                        cordee1 wrote:

                         

                        I'm certainly a newbie when it comes to such things, which is no doubt why I've been using word and pages for handling my outlines, rather than a more powerful program.  That said, I've decided to give scrivener another try - and (fingers crossed) I think it will provide the solution I need.  It'll be more time consuming to plug all my data in, but it's not a database, so at least I don't have to code everything.  I can still see everything in outline view, instead.  I HOPE it can handle files of the size I'm going to be using.  I still haven't figured out how to link to particular sections within PDF's and JPEG's - and for me, cutting and pasting off of them, directly in the word processor (and now, scrivener, hopefully) is more convenient (that is, of course, until my software crashes).  I use Preview to do such things.  I also use Preview to annotate my PDF and JPEG data.  No doubt, if I were a more advanced software user, I would be able to figure out how to do all this without needing to cut and paste off graphics files.  However, time is short, and right now I need to focus on publishing, rather than learning new software tricks.  I've tried to use databases before but have found coding to be quite inflexible - sometimes I use different data sets for different articles/books, and it's difficult to anticipate what codes I should apply until I actually start my new projects.

                         

                        Thanks again all for all your advice.  When I have more time I'll figure out how to link to different files, rather than embedding them; I'll also try to become a more advanced coder.  But for now I'll try scrivener.  We'll see how it goes.

                        If by "coding" you mean writing programs in a database's language to retrieve stored content, then consider database applications that don't need users to do this.

                         

                        Here is a source of info on this:

                         

                        http://www.mac-forums.com/forums/os-x-apps-games/229392-building-database.html

                         

                        If "coding" means assigning keywords or tags to stored content, to create groups of similar material for different selections of tagged items, then you need to create fields in the storage database for these. Sometimes it's useful to create a single field with multiple keywords; other times it's better to create a field for each tag and enter something like "X" or "Yes" or "No," for retrieval.

                         

                        As to extracting graphics from PDFs, in full Acrobat, you can export graphics to individual files. Depending on the version of Acrobat, the command is located in different places. For example, In Acrobat X, aka Acrobat 10, Export All Images is under Document Processing which is under Tools.

                         

                        As to extracting portions of PDFs or other graphics, you need an appropriate tool.

                         

                        As to file sizes and keeping track of source materials, placing (importing by reference) graphics and PDFs , vs. embedding them, not only makes smaller "container" files, but also makes it possible to reuse a single graphic or PDF multiple times in the same or different documents. The technique is to place the graphic in the document, then crop its containing frame to display only the appropriate material.

                         

                        You can annotate graphics in an ID file with text, circles, and arrows, by overlaying them with text and graphic frames, either on the same layer, or on one or more separate layers. You can group items on the same layer to keep them in the same arrangement.

                         

                        However, if all you need from the PDFs is text, consider creating a batch command in full Acrobat to run OCR on them and save the text. You can place the text material in an ID file, tag it with paragraph styles, and use cross-references to capture specific source paragraphs where you need to reference them in the main document.

                         

                        Unless you absolutely must stick to your current inefficient workflow to meet some deadlines, applying some of these methods is an investment that will repay the effort in future work.

                         

                        Search Google for terms like "InDesign cross-references tutorial," "InDesign place graphic tutorial," "InDesign import tutorial," "InDesign linking graphics tutorial," "InDesign crop graphic frame tutorial," "InDesign layers tutorial," "Acrobat group objects tutorial," "Acrobat export graphics tutorial," "Acrobat export text tutorial," and similar phrases, without quotes, for details.

                         

                        Another useful Google search topic is content management systems; "content management systems basic principles," and "repurposing content with content management systems," are good starters, without quotes. Content management involves much investment in preparation and planning to be useful.

                         

                        HTH

                         

                         

                        Regards,

                         

                         

                        Peter

                        _______________________

                        Peter Gold

                        KnowHow ProServices